[osm-professional] Utility networks OSM initiative

Jochen Plumeyer jochen at plumeyer.org
Wed Mar 3 05:04:51 GMT 2010

Dear Anthony Beck,

short answer first:

On Jue 25 Feb 2010, Anthony Beck wrote:
> So basically my question is: can a professional dataset aimed at a
> professional market that restricts access to the data be set up under the
> umbrella of OSM? I think I know the answer as I'm requesting to remove the
> open from OSM :-(. 

You can use OSM data for your business under quite clear and easy conditions, 
but the OSM umbrella I don't know.

> If not is it possible to take the OSM technology stack 
> for such an initiative. Blanket refusal would be a shame as the benefit of
> such an initiative to UK PLC and Global business PLC would be phenomenal.

You can use the OSM technology stack in terms of software (hardware I doubt).

Long answer:

> By the looks of it I'm the first poster to this discussion list.
And it seems I'm the next, and responding neither as a legal person nor as an 
OSM/GIS methusalem nor representative. But things are not so complicated, if 
you read for instance http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Legal_FAQ and 
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ .

To put your question into other words, you want to build a business out of a 
matrix of data users and data pools from several suppliers. 
Each data user can select the set of data pools of interest, and has to pay 
according to the features/ data pools ordered. I interprete you, that the 
suppliers are willing sometimes to merge, or unify data pools into one.
The value you plan to add, besides of a common platform for this utility data, 
is providing a systematic approach to find information.

Within the set of data pools you want to use OSM data, and you have an 
interest in an inexpensive, proven and stable platform, similar to 
http://OSM.org itself.

If this is correct, then the answer would be: yes, no problem, if you give 
credit to OSM and its license, but data derived from OSM data has to be 
distributed under the same license like OSM data itself.
I interprete the content of a search index as derived work (moderator?).

If you use OSM data as a separate layer, without using traces or other direct 
references from it, nor other modifications, then there is no need to 
redistribute anything with an open CC-2.0 license.

The platform part is even simpler: this is all GPL licensed software, I think 
even without using the Affero License extension of the GPL.
This permits not only to use it, you can even modify it without being forced 
to publish your modifications, if you use the software for network services.
Hence, no issue there.

The "umbrella question" - I'm no OSM representative, but it does not look 
realistic to me, to share hosting under OSM.org, although it would be great 
to have some day the sub-surface data as a publicly accessible data set.

So, if you have a (powerful) internet server, you're in the business, you can 
build your own OSM server 
(http://weait.com/content/build-your-own-openstreetmap-server, this does not 
cover everything and is a bit outdated ).

Legal implementation of client side:
To provide several data layers depending on the customer ID should not be 
difficult, although unification would give better, more concise and more 
userfriendly results, and possibly would have positive impact for data 
suppliers to stimulate communication towards data merging and in the end free 
data publishing.

Legal implementation of server side:
The CC-2.0 permits "remixing", so it seems you can pour (without altering the 
original OSM data) all the data into one database if you want, and only have 
to give credit. It should be even legal to redistribute this "remix" in a 
closed way, only to certain customers, and not to the public, if the OSM data 
keeps being unaltered.

The search index from the contents from OSM according to the license should be 
available to the public I think, and, to be fair it would be good to have 
improved search technology for OSM as well. This is what you can give back to 
OSM, apart from donations.


Jochen Plumeyer

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